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Hansen nets in Victory's 1-1 tie at Miami FC

July 22, 2007 - USL First Division (USL-1) - California Victory News Release


MIAMI (July 22, 2007) -- The California Victory has lifted itself off the bottom of the league with a 1-1 tie Saturday against Miami FC at a soaking-wet Tropical Park Stadium, Miami.

Josh Hansen netted his second goal of the Victory's two-game tropical tour to put his team ahead in the first half, before Yuri Morales nodded in an own-goal equalizer for Miami.

The Vics, who also tied the Puerto Rico Islanders 1-1 on Friday, now sit a single point above the Minnesota Thunder in eleventh place. This is the first time the Californians have been off the bottom of the USL First Division since week one -- setting up a dramatic battle-of-the-basement fixture when they visit Minnesota Thursday.

Overall Miami proved to be a tough opponent for the Victory, despite looking as waterlogged as the rain-soaked field in the opening minutes of play.

It took just three minutes for the Vics to take advantage of some limp Miami defending when Hansen fired home his sixth goal of the season, having collected a neat layoff from midfielder Mike Muñoz.

Hansen's strike came from wide left of the Miami goal, a similar position to where he scored his exquisite solo effort Friday.

Minutes later Yuri Morales found himself leading a breakaway into the Miami box, but was quickly hauled down from behind. The referee's non-call for a penalty was questionable, and though Miami were lucky not to be two goals down, they also had a couple of legitimate penalty calls denied later in the game.

Miami did start to look dangerous midway through the first half when Sean Cameron got on the end of a corner kick, but his header pinged high and wide over Eric Reed's goal.

And Sean Fraser should have equalized minutes later after latching on to Zinho's through-pass, but luckily for the Vics the shot ricocheted off crossbar to keep the visitors in front.

Jamaican-international Fraser had broken through the Victory defense a number of times in the first half, but there always seemed to be an extra man back for California to stifle the attack.

In the end, however, it took an own-goal by Morales to level the game. The Victory forward, who has netted thrice at the proper end this season, tried to defend an in-swinging corner kick from the right, but subsequently headed past his own 'keeper.

It was a harsh way to lose the lead considering the Victory's bright start and solid defending -- but in truth Miami deserved the equalizer, having found their verve leading up to the goal.

In the second period neither team managed to take complete control of the game; however, it was Miami who had the most chances, forcing a few nervy moments in the Victory box.

Miami forward Sean Fraser blew a gilt-edge chance to put Miami in front when he headed over from eight yards. Zinho then tried his luck with a chip from the left that went out for a corner, and the Brazilian legend had the Vics holding their breath once more when he fired wide a free kick.

Among the Victory's paucity of second-half chances was an 80th-minute long-range effort by Jose Retiz that was barely a yard shy, and another long-ranger from Mike Muñoz that grazed the base of the goal post.

Miami must have thought they had the winner through Luchi Gonzalez' looping 25-yarder that skimmed the top of the bar, and again when Zinho's diving header went close.

However, it took a couple of heroic saves from Victory 'keeper Reed at the end to ultimately deny Miami their fourth-straight win, and to ensure the Vics return home from their tropical tour unbeaten.

The Vics (3-10-7, 16 points) next travel to St. Paul, Minn., to tackle the last-place Thunder on Thursday. The match can be seen live at www.usllive.com. Kickoff is at 5:05 p.m. PST.

The next Victory home game is Saturday, July 28, against the Puerto Rico Islanders. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Kezar Stadium, San Francisco. For tickets, go to www.californiavictorysoccer.com

Miami (7-10-3, 24 points) travel to Carolina on Saturday to take on the expansion RailHawks.

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